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Goza Family Supplied 'Farm Cars'

Posted Sunday, October 30, 2011, at 8:14 AM

I had moved to Tennessee before hearing the phrase "farm car."

One of my newspaper editors was describing Plymouth automobiles.

"That's what we call Plymouths in Tennessee," editor Mike West editorialized. "They're 'farm cars.'"

It was 1950 when the Whittles got their first "farm car."

I was reminded of this recently upon reading the October 2011 obituary of Lois Margaret Goza in The Daily Statesman.

It was her late husband, Hutson L. Goza, who convinced Momma Whittle to buy the pretty little blue two-door Plymouth coupe.

Mr. Goza was co-owner of Sikeston's Goza-Harper automobile dealership that marketed Chrysler-made vehicles, including Plymouths and higher-priced Desota Dodge automobiles.

One of the family's most infamous, but yet humorous incidents occurred involving that shiney new Plymouth.

Within moments after "paying cash" for our new car, Momma Whittle drove it for approval of her mother, Beatrice Maneurva Orr Stock Rhodes, who resided in the Lavalle farming community between Parma and Hill's Store.

Unbeknownst to Momma, our grandmother, whom we affectionately called "Granny Grunt" had a big supply of Sweet Garrett snuff in her mouth and a biggo can of snuff-laden spittle tucked between her feet as Mother showed off our new car while driving toward Hunterville and Gray Ridge.

It was in front of the big cotton gin at Hill's Store where Granny Grunt chose to dispose of her biggo can of snuff spittle.

The result was desastrous as the snuff can's contents turned the passenger side of Mom's new car from bright blue to a dull glaze of tobacco-laced brown.

It was the one of two times in my life I heard Momma Whittle employ "cuss words" when addressing our late grandmother.

"Momma, why in hell could you not wait until I got the car stopped before throwing your snuff stuff out of the car?" Momma asked as she stopped to inspect our new, but now very dirty new automobile in front of Hill's Store.

That Plymouth car was a good one, for it remained serviceable through weekly treks to the A&P Grocery and Sale Barn in Sikeston through the year 1955 when Momma bought another "farm car" from Hutson Goza.

Privileged was I to later attend Gray Ridge High School (now Richland) with Mr. and Mrs. Hutson's beautiful daughter, the late Gail Goza, who died an extremely premature death back in the 1970s. Her very-much-respected father died this past January.

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Retired recently as world-traveled newspaperman, career made possible by late Superintendent of Schools Robert L. Rasche, about to have Bootheel life book published by SEMO State University. Loved farm life, but knew at five years old, didn't want to be a "cotton picker" when I grew up.
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